The BMW PGA Championship, taking place in the glorious surroundings of Wentworth Club from May 22-25, has earned an enviable reputation, not only for being The European Tour’s flagship event, attracting some of the biggest names in world golf, but also for its world-class facilities and off-course entertainment.
The 2014 edition of the event – celebrating 60 years of the PGA Championship and BMW’s tenth year as title Partner – will be bigger and better than ever, with its most impressive field, ensuring large crowds converging on the famous Wentworth Estate. No fewer than ten Major Champions and 11 members of José María Olazábal’s famous ‘Miracle at Medinah’ 2012 Ryder Cup winning team are all confirmed to play.
This year’s off-course entertainment, predominantly taking place in the vibrant and ever-expanding Championship Village, looks set to offer an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
This year’s Championship Village will be a hub of activity for families and golf fans alike, featuring interactive displays, live music, daily autograph sessions and ‘Cotter’s Questions’ with celebrities and pros on the BMW Show Stage throughout the tournament in conversation with BBC Sport’s Andrew Cotter.
There is an extensive selection of food and beverage options, ranging from first-class hospitality in the BMW Owners’ Lounge and Moet Bar and Brasserie to the Theatre of Food, and there is even a public Creche for younger members of the family. Meanwhile the Big Screen and scoreboard will make sure you’re kept up to speed with all the on course action.
Enjoy the pleasure of the Warsteiner Bar adjacent to the main Show Stage in the Village and sip a beer or two while listening to Cotter’s Questions just after lunch from Thursday to Sunday, or dancing along to music supplied by the Jones Gang on Saturday post-play and the AllStars Band on Sunday.
In support of the tournament’s 60th anniversary, several BMW Classics will be on display, reflecting the company’s rich heritage. Ranging from the quirky Isetta and iconic 507, to the more recent 8 Series and BMW Z8, the collection of cars, welcoming visitors as they arrive at the Championship Village, is sure to delight any car enthusiasts. The latest models from BMW Group’s Motorrad and MINI ranges will also be on display, showcasing the future of motoring.”On a different level, there is a fun opportunity to test your skills with radio remote controlled BMWs on the Scalextric race track. There’s nothing like a bit of competition on the track, even if it is just in miniature!
As part of this year’s anniversary celebrations, visitors will be able to take on the BMW PGA Championship 60th Anniversary Mega Putt Challenge, which will be launched by two-time Major Champion and 1969 PGA Championship winner Tony Jacklin, on Wednesday May 21.
The Mega Putt Challenge - a 60ft astro turfed green, undulated and cambered - has been designed to challenge even the most experienced of golfers! A donation of £5 will buy three attempts at holing the tricky 60ft putt – one foot for every edition of the Championship, with proceeds going to official tournament charity, Disability Challengers.
Continuing the golfing theme, the HSBC interactive roadshow will also be making its debut in the Championship Village this year, inviting spectators to test their full range of golf skills. There is a full scale replica of St. Andrews’ infamous ‘Road Hole Bunker’ to negotiate, as well as golfing simulators. Meanwhile, the HSBC Wimbledon Tennis experience will be launched on the same day. For those keen on game improvement, there is an opportunity to get a golf lesson from a PGA professional in the Nike golf nets while a customised set of clubs is on offer for anyone seeking a ‘made to measure’ set in the Ping fitting tent.
Retail therapy can be found via the Hugo Boss and European Tour Collections while if anyone wishes to get off their feet and watch the world go by, there will be giant bean bags dotted around the Village to take the strain.
Championship Director Jamie Birkmyre commented: “The Championship Village will once again be a major feature of this year’s BMW PGA Championship, providing a fantastic mix of entertainment away from the on-course action. Thus year’s Championship Village will be the largest the tournament has ever built, offering an amazing array of interactive displays and stands featuring global lifestyle brands, as well as catering options and crèche facilities for children. Live music will be headlined by The Jones Gang on Saturday evening, with a special guest appearance from Paul Young, while The Allstars band will see the event off in style on Sunday evening. All of this and more is included in the price of a normal entry ticket.”
The popular Park and Ride service, introduced for the first time in 2013, will operate once again this year running from two locations – Broomhall Farm in Sunningdale, which will carry traffic from the South and East; and Ascot Racecourse, carrying traffic from the North and West. Both sites will be fully operational from Tuesday May 20. For spectators wishing to leave their cars at home, there will also be a complimentary bus service to transport spectators to and from Virginia Water train station.
Tickets for the BMW PGA Championship (20-25 May) are still available, with advanced prices valid until Monday May 19 at www.europeantour.com/tickets or on 0800 023 2557. Children aged under 16 will be admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult ticket holder. Hospitality packages, reserved grandstand seating at the 18th green and limited on-site parking are almost sold out.
As in previous years, BMW Owners and Official Badge Holders will be able to park on site. All other ticket holders – and spectators turning up on the day to purchase tickets on the gate – will need to utilise the popular Park and Ride service. This year’s Park and Ride service will operate from two locations - Broomhall Farm in Sunningdale, which will carry traffic from the South and East; and Ascot Racecourse, carrying traffic from the North and West. Both sites will be fully operational from Tuesday May 20.
For spectators wishing to leave their cars at home, there will also be a complimentary bus service to transport spectators to and from Virginia Water train station.